High harmonics extending to X-rays have been generated from gases by intense lasers. To establish these coherent broadband radiations as an all-purpose tabletop light source for general applications in science and technology, new methods are needed to overcome the present low conversion efficiencies. Here we show that the conversion efficiency may be drastically increased with an optimized two-color pulse. By employing an optimally synthesized 2-µm mid-infrared laser and a small amount of its third harmonic, we show that harmonic yields from sub- to few-keV energy can be increased typically by ten-fold over the optimized single-color one. By combining with favorable phase-matching and together with the emerging high-repetition MHz mid-infrared lasers, we anticipate efficiency of harmonic yields can be increased by four to five orders in the near future, thus paving the way for employing high harmonics as useful broadband tabletop light sources from the extreme ultraviolet to the X-rays, as well as providing new tools for interrogating ultrafast dynamics of matter at attosecond timescales.



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01 Nov 2014

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